How To Cook Asparagus

And enjoy this beautiful vegetable!

how to cook asparagusHow To Cook Asparagus

When you know how to cook asparagus you will have a beautiful vegetable to include in your family meals.

I assure you that this little vegetable will make a big impression on everyone.

There are two types of asparagus – the green asparagus, which is found everywhere in France, and the white variety. 

When buying it look at it carefully and make sure it is tender and not limp as this will not be fresh.

You will need about five spears of asparagus for each person.

When you know how to cook asparagus you have a vegetable that is not only tasty but very versatile.

It is delicious eaten just as it is on its own either hot or cold.

If eaten hot, a sauce such as Hollandaise can be served with it or a lemon sauce, in fact, whatever you prefer.

Another very easy and delicious method is to serve it with warm melted butter and a little salt and pepper.

To serve it cold, simply make a vinaigrette or French dressing, a mustard dressing or a good quality mayonnaise – so tasty.

white and green asparagusWhite & Green Asparagus

How To Prepare Asparagus Spears

NOTE: To prepare the asparagus for cooking, I have amended this portion of the preparation of asparagus, because the bend and snap method wastes so much of this wonderful vegetable. (This is the original instruction: First, hold each spear by each end and bend until it snaps; they will break at the divide between the tender shoots and the tougher stems near the root. You may have been instructed this way before.) But now I recommend doing it this way.

  • To prepare the asparagus for cooking, feel each spear and determine where the end feels most firm and cut off the tougher amount at the bottom to leave the most tender length. You may want to peel or scrape a couple of inches up from the bottom if it feels like it might be tough or stringy.

  • If the asparagus spears have a tough skin then they can be peeled or scraped all the way up. The fat ones are easier to handle and there will be less waste with these and they taste just as lovely.

  • If you feel they must be peeled then a  sharp knife is best for scraping them, in fact it is much better than using a vegetable peeler as it takes a thicker peel. But, I seldom have to peel mine.

  • If you would like a nicer presentation for guests, simply trim the ends to make the spears all the same length. (But don't through out that valuable piece of asparagus. Saute it with butter for a delicious side dish for the family.)

  • Once they are prepared, wash the spears in a bowl of cold water, or rinse under running water and drain them.

  • For easier handling take a few spears and tie them with cooking string near the tip and near the butt end.

How To Cook Asparagus Choosing From 5 Methods

Method 1

  • Bring a pan of salted water to a boil and place the asparagus in it then lower the heat and cook gently for about fifteen minutes until tender. You can test by inserting the sharp end of a knife into the butt end.

  • Drain them well.

Method 2

  • If using frozen asparagus, simply allow to thaw a little before cooking and only use a small amount of water to which you have added a little salt and about a tablespoon of butter.

  • Cook for about 10 minutes or until tender.

Method 3

This method & #4 are the methods I use most often.

  • Steam the asparagus in a steamer that allows the spears to remain out of the water and only cooked with hot steam.

  • It will not take long, but depends on the thickness of the spears.

Method 4

  • After drying the asparagus well, melt a tablespoon or two of butter in a pan.

  • Saute the asparagus turning often, until it is the firmness you like.

Method 5

There is another way....!

Chef Raymond Blanc – they don't come more French than he does – offers an alternative way of cooking asparagus, by a combination of blanching and griddling.

·         Prepare the asparagus spears as above, then blanche them in boiling water for just 3 minutes.

·         Remove and plunge them into a bowl of iced/cold water; this helps them to keep their colour.

·         Lie 5 spears side by side, and spear them with a wooded skewer, top and bottom, to keep them together.

·         Repeat this with the rest of the spears, then place on a hot griddle for 3 minutes on each side...that's plenty.

·         Remove skewers and serve immediately.

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